Finding ways to bring virtual reality into the classroom has been a struggle for some, but Curated x Kai has cracked the code. This VR company is using goggles to take students on virtual field trips to some of D.C.’s most historical landmarks.
“We’re different from most virtual reality companies because we’re putting inclusivity and representation in the forefront of what we do — it’s not an afterthought,” said Kai Frazier, founder and CEO.
Founded in fall 2017, Curated x Kai was created as a way to combine history lessons, museum experiences and virtual reality. The company targets underserved D.C.- area students and works to empower them through culturally significant virtual reality trips.
“The students have enjoyed seeing it. A lot of them have never seen virtual reality before,” said Frazier. “I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen when we take the technology on the road for students who are not as close to the monument.”
Prior to creating the company, Kai worked in museums helping to attract donors and curated exhibitions. She also worked for 10 years as a history teacher. Her professional experiences inspired her love for using VR in the classroom.
Teachers are also loving the Curated x Kai VR experiences.
“Teachers are just really excited to have a tool that was created with them in mind,” said Kai. “It’s really hard as a history teacher to find all the resources needed to teach about the different locations that we do.”
Curated x Kai has had unexpected growth from its inception, Frazier said.
“I initially thought it was just going to be a website where I talked about where I informed people about museums, but through technology, it ended up taking a turn,” Frazier said.
The turn led the company to SXSW’s 2018 Tech Spotlight where thousands of other techies convened in Austin.
Curated x Kai showed off their skills during SXSW in an effort to raise $10,000 for their upcoming project to have students experience the Official Obama Portraits in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery through VR. The goal is to teach students about Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, the first African Americans commissioned to paint official portraits of the first couple.
So far, the company uses two prototype videos to help students learn about civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. One video takes viewers to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the other video plays excerpts from MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech in English and Spanish.
“The videos take about a week to make,” Frazier said. “But we’ll be using the fundraising money to hire film crews, so they can be finished filming in a day.”
Curated x Kai is expected to begin filming the Obama portraits after SXSW.